Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

All she ever wanted was to be a knight. And it was that dream, that spurred the changing and the strengthening of a realm, the discovery of talent and of magic, the birth and the heart of many, the legend and the inspiration for all.

On the outside, Page Alan of Trebond is simply a boy with wicked purple eyes and wild twist of flame red hair, the same as any other knight-in-training at the royal palace. But deeper, Page Alan is not all he seems.

Alan is Alanna, the girl with a love for archery and fencing, a passion for riding and a drive that pushes her to open closed doors and to chase her desires, to dance with rogues and laugh with princes, to see and do and truly be. Disguised as her twin brother, she sneaks off to become a palace page, a knight in training. Alanna stays true to her task to become a knight, binding and concealing her budding womanhood, struggling with the force of her magical Gift, the touch that the Gods have placed upon her, and all of the trials and tribulations that come from being a simultaneous girl and boy.

She faces bullies, falls in love, experiences duels, battles, and murderous mages, befriends all from the King of Thieves to the Crown Prince of Tortall, all in hope of earning her shield as a knight.

My gosh. I love this book.

Ever since I was a tiny little mite of evilness and awesome, I have completely, toadally, muhahahably adorified the Alanna series. She's a girl who defies all social boundaries and constraints to follow her aspirations, and she's inspiring to characters in her book and to readers alike. She reminds me of Frankie from the Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks (by E. Lockhart—check out Avery Trelaine's brilliant review right here), who does sort of the same thing. Both books explore the issues of a woman and a girl in a society that subtly, even unintentionally restrains or underestimates them.

Another thing to be loved about these books, is the fact that at the end of the series, the characters don't simply disappear. They appear later on as guest stars of principle characters in later series that focus on others. You find out how each person's life progresses, who they marry, what children they have, what battles they've won, and you follow their maturing and their aging, in a way that seems as though you really know them.

Alanna is especially cool, because there is a series about her daughter, a series about her husband, a series about a girl who loves and idolizes her, and in every single Tortall story, she is present as a celebrated legend. By the way, Tortall is the country in which Alanna lives.

So. The series as a whole, receives a wickedly ineffable, empyreal, prodigious review, along with a whopping five out of five evil daggers.

Weeping with admiration for strong women around the world,

Your newbie cousin,


Samuel said...

Oooh! This is one that I missed. Maybe I should read it. Sounds like the kind of thing I read heaps of when I was little.

Great review!

Rae said...

I love the Alanna series... I read the fourth one when I was six... which may not have been the best idea ever.
Though I am closer to Alanna in looks (minus the purple eyes, unfortunately), I have always fancied myself more similar to Daine. Have you read that series? I'm guessing you've read most of Tamora Pierce's books.

Rae said...

And also, thanks for linking to my review. I'm glad you liked it!

Briar K. said...

Yes, I've read nearly all the Tortall series. I loved the first Daine book, but I can't seem to get into the second. Love Keladry, however, and Trickster's Choice.

No problem. Your review was awesome!

Anonymous said...

Tamora Pierce is my all time favorite author! Ever. I have read and reread her books many times over. The Imortals series which takes place a few years after these is my favorite. The Trickster series is also amazing and it is in the perspective of Alanna's daughter.
Uber amazing

Em said...

I really love this series. And the Wild Mage series by Pierce, too. Have you read those?

Briar K. said...

I read the first Wild Magic book-- I liked it a lot. Daine is wicked awesome. Why do you think you liked the Wild Mage books so much, Em?

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

I'm going to have to get this one for my girl - thanks for the tip!

Tamora said...

Thank you so much for an absolutely wonderful review! I loved all the different things you had to say about the book--this wasn't just a rote reivew. You talked about the book's connections to other books, as well as its emotional and intellectual effect. I am extremely honored, and I hope that you always feel this way about Alanna!

wishing you a New Year filled with amazing books,
Tammy Pierce

Briar K. said...

Oh my gosh! Thank you sooooo much, Ms Pierce! It means SO much to me!

Tamora said...

8-D I thought you would like it! And I really enjoyed both meeting you and the review!

Briar K. said...

You too! I'd never actually met an author before, but that was the absolute PERFECT way to start. :) You're my favorite author!

Anonymous said...

I've missed a Tamora Pierce series. O.O I've read the Circle series, Wild magic series, and trickster series. I have not read this one.

I will definitely go forth and buy. Thanks for the awesome review! You can review my stories any time. ^^

Jen said...

Love this series!

lexa said...

I loved all of her books and would recomend them to anyone.